Opinion

Project at the skatepark is worth reviving | Editorial

When the Vashon Park District was caught up with the VES Fields project, one common complaint was that the fields drew resources from other district projects and programs. Now, with an agency in somewhat better financial shape and a grant deadline looming, the district is turning its attention back to a project once hailed as great for kids and teens. It’s putting funds into building a spot for outdoor skating and skateboarding at the Burton Adventure Recreation Center (BARC).

This project was put on hold some time ago after significant unexpected costs came up and there were staff changes at the district, but thankfully it wasn’t forgotten. In a small town with limited activities for youth and high rates of youth drinking and drug use, our community could benefit from an expanded skatepark. And an additional place for skating will complement the fields nicely, providing a safe activity for many kids who aren’t involved in traditional sports but will hop on wheels.

The proposal isn’t what it once was. It’s now a simple skate bowl, a far cry from the ambitious outdoor park the district first set out to build, one that would have been larger and had more for skaters to do. But as BARC volunteers explain, the bowl is an attractive feature for skaters, as it provides an experience that can’t be found skating rails and curbs on the street. The simple bowl project is also much cheaper than building full outdoor skatepark, and hopefully the door will be left open to add a few more features down the road. It’s refreshing to see the district take on a project that will serve another group of people and to do it with realistic expectations.

That this project is moving forward once again is especially notable considering that the park district almost closed BARC when it fell on hard financial times. A group of dedicated parent volunteers made sure the indoor skating facility and park stayed open. That same group of parents can now no doubt raise the funds required to get the skating bowl within reach again. If you’ve been hesitant to support the park district lately, remember that this project started before the fields took the district’s attention and captured the newspaper’s headlines. It’s still an effort that’s good for kids, that’s backed by a solid group of volunteers and that’s worthy of our support.

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